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Do Something Meaningful Employee Spotlight: Paul Shapiro

Oct 7, 2016

As a company that champions talent as its differentiator, it's important to celebrate the many ways our employees go above and beyond in all aspects of their lives. We often recognize excellence in the workplace, but less frequently celebrate excellence in the community. Meet Paul Shapiro, Director of Finance, Verizon Digital Media Services (VDMS), this week’s employee volunteer spotlight.

Paul and his family walk team have helped raise almost $500,000 over the past 13+ years for the JDRF. JDRF is the leading global organization changing breakthroughs to cure the disease and create a world without Type 1 diabetes. Join the cause with Paul and his new VDMS team the Digital Diabeaters. How? Go to to​ register or make a donation. Once registered, you’ll receive more information.

A note from Paul –

"When I was younger, I didn’t really understand the importance and “benefit” of working with a non-profit. I was a member of KCRW and KCET, wrote checks to Heal the Bay and Tree​ people and thought of myself as a relatively philanthropic person. It wasn’t until a disease diagnosis for my daughter hit me in the face that I decided I needed to do more.

I originally got involved with JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) in 2002 when my daughter Jessica was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) at the age of 10. She’s now 24 and doing great in her new career in College Student Personnel. In her honor, we started a JDRF family Walk team called Jessica’s J-Walkers that has raised almost $500,000 for diabetes research in the last 13+ years. If you don’t know me, I’ve been in a finance role at the company for some time. Actually, I was the first CFO (part-time) of Edgecast back in 2007 when I was consulting for startups. Over the years many co-workers have generously helped out with prior JDRF Walks.

T1D is a manageable disease but it’s an unforgiving one, and incurable. It differs from Type 2 in many ways, mainly that it’s an auto-immune disease and can only be treated by insulin. Careful monitoring of highs and lows, finger pricks, insulin dosing and nutrition care are constants. It may be a cliché, but you can’t take a day off from Type 1 diabetes. The management and outlook have improved greatly during the 13 years we’ve been involved, and there are many reasons to be optimistic about the future.

JDRF has been at the forefront of diabetes research for a long time. Their ultimate goal is to cure T1D. One pathway to get there is to pursue research to improve treatment of T1D in the short term and mature over time into curative therapies. They are also trying to prevent new diagnoses of T1D and treat people with T1D through cutting edge technology and smart insulin.

I’ve made a commitment to my daughter that I’ll keep fighting against this disease until she no longer has to worry about long-term complications or short-term tragedies. But this cause is not just about me and my family. I’d guess that many people reading this also know someone with diabetes and I ask for your empathy and generosity when thinking about getting involved with the upcoming JDRF Walk.

I’d like to invite all of my co-workers to join our team, Digital Diabeaters at the Rose Bowl on Sunday October 30, 2016. This is a fun family event that usually draws around 10,000 people. It’s free, but we ask everyone to raise at least $100 to get a T-Shirt. If you can’t make it, please support your friends and colleagues.

Stay tuned for more information and fun ideas that we have in the works to make this year’s walk a success. I’m so excited to get the company’s involvement this year, and hope that you’ll be able to share the experience."


This is another great example of how #AOLGIVESBACK. Thank you for your inspiration, Paul and best of luck with your walk!